The decision of the VGT was announced on Friday by the chief presidential advisor on national security affairs Valdemaras Sarapinas.
“The State Defence Council made the decision unanimously,” he reported.
Lithuania wants to buy Boxer IFVs with Elbit System of 30mm unmanned turrets, a 7.62 mm machine gun, and Spike long range anti-tank missiles.
The country plans to pay EUR 400m to purchase 88 IFVs, among which 84 IFVs will be used for combat operations and the remaining four for commanders. The first vehicles are expected to reach Lithuania in 2017, while a complete order should be executed by 2019.
The worth of the purchase is almost equal to Lithuania’s entire defence budget for 2015, which stands at EUR 425m. Next year, however, military spending is going up to EUR 575m.
The purchase is being conducted via the international organisation for weaponry procurement the Joint Organisation for Armaments Cooperation (OCCAR).
According to Chief of Defence of Lithuania Lieutenant General Jonas Vytautas Žukas, this is going to be the largest army modernisation project so far in Lithuania. He says that Boxer IFVs are the most suitable for Lithuania in terms of the provisions of its armed defence conception and operating environment.
Value for money
Lithuania expects the first Boxer IFVs to be delivered in 2017. According to Defence Minister Juozas Olekas, soldiers who will be using the new vehicles will have undergone training by then.
Based on unofficial information, the acquisition of 88 Boxer IFVs may cost around EUR 400 million. Minister Olekas has not revealed how much the deal is worth, but said it will be below EUR 500 million, the amount publicly mentioned earlier.
“I think the amount will be significantly lower than the mentioned EUR 500 million and will depend on negotiations,” said Olekas.
According to the minister, during the negotiations Lithuania will try to involve domestic companies in the maintenance process of Boxer IFVs.
“We hope that our local manufacturers, who will be entrusted to implement a part of the project, will not be disadvantaged,” said Olekas.